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Last Updated: February 25, 2016
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3.162K
· ChrisMissal

Better Diffs with SQL Files

The default encoding for SQL Server Management Studio is UTF-16. If you are saving a file with this encoding, some diff tools or viewers "think" the file is binary and won't give you a comparison.

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You can prevent this by "Save with Encoding..." as shown below. Just click the down arrow on the save button.

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Now you'll be able to see diffs in GitHub (for instance).

I hope this is helpful, but if you know another way, or better way, I'd love to know about it, thanks!

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12224

Yeah, UTF-16 .sql files were annoying for me with GitHub diffs.

There is an easier way to make this problem go away:

  1. Find the template is a file named SQLFile.sql, by default in the location %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\[Sql Version]\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE\SqlWorkbenchProjectItems\Sql\.
  2. Resave (using your tip) as UTF-8.
  3. All new query windows will default to UTF-8 files

Source: Microsoft Connect post Unicode Defaults on SSMS Save.

There is a great read at UTF-8 Everywhere explaining why Microsoft is so wedded to UTF-16 (aka "Unicode" in the Microsoft developer world).

over 1 year ago ·
12226

This is perfect, thanks Steve!

over 1 year ago ·